Top Commercial Construction Estimation Techniques to Drive Revenue

Ben Franklin advised, “Time is money” and that old adage still holds true.

A common problem

You’re on the job site. Suddenly, someone realizes that they’ve fallen short of bricks.

Now it becomes a mad scramble. Where are the bricks? The clock is ticking. The dollars are adding up.

Workers are out checking trucks for the missing bricks. They’re on the clock and using up time.

There were errors in the project takeoff and estimation for the materials. Because the takeoff was incorrect, the estimate only accounted for the bricks on hand. The estimate didn’t catch the error.

With problems like this, time and costs will affect the project.

This also indicates that there are workflow problems because people aren’t on the same page.

Your struggles

Today’s commercial construction company owners struggle to eliminate estimating inaccuracies. You need to drive revenue, but there are reasons for losing money. Problems may arise with the estimation techniques currently used in your company. Here are three areas where estimation techniques are problematic and what you can do to increase your profits.

Problems with estimations

Having poor estimation techniques result in fewer bid wins and lower revenues, especially if your estimators are still using spreadsheets or, even worse, pencil and paper.

Some 88% of spreadsheets have errors, and according to spreadsheet expert Ray Panko, there will be dozens of errors in large spreadsheets with thousands of formulas. Problems can range from hidden cells and copy and paste errors, to problems with cell and formula calculations.

At a time when competition for projects is stiff, you can’t afford using a spreadsheet that’s laden with human errors. Spreadsheets have a long history of mistakes in large projects, and you don’t want your projects to be among them. You need access to estimation techniques that can drive your commercial construction company and its profits forward. Rather than manual techniques, consider using automation to help your estimators and your profits.

Poor takeoffs

One of the last things you need is for your takeoffs to not… takeoff. When doing a manual takeoff, the estimator will read the blueprints, list each component required, including the type of material and important considerations as length, volume, or area of the material. Once each material has been quantified, the estimator then has to assign a price to each by hand and then calculate a final material total.

Construction takeoffs provide the list of materials necessary to complete a project. If insufficient materials are ordered, it can result in delays in project completion as well as significant cost overages. If too many materials are ordered, this results in losses for your company.

Manual takeoffs are time-consuming and potentially inaccurate. There are complex calculations that require a high degree of skill. The calculations must be accurate to avoid mis- and re-counting materials. Misjudging necessary brick, steel, electrical, lumber, or other materials and equipment can spell cost and time overruns, which can affect your revenue. Having estimation techniques for takeoffs improve not only how your team works, but points to an improvement in your bottom line. Moving to automating your takeoffs can greatly improve your way of working.

Poor workflow issues

Like estimating and takeoffs that have problems with manual ways of working, workflows aren’t much different. Things like schedules and hours worked are often jotted on paper or even cardboard before they make it to the office. Some are just relegated to memory. That’s data with huge potential for error. Learning who is where and when is difficult.

When teams are out in the field or in the office, there can be inevitable problems with workflow. Estimators and their teams are often not on the same page, working from different platforms, different devices, and all with scattered data. And lots of it.

When your crews are out on the job site on any given day, there are a lot of open issues on a project. There could be hundreds of contractors and various teams. They’re all being inundated by data. This can create bottlenecks for who’s doing what, where they’re doing it, and if the work is getting done. The workflow isn’t as it should be, and collaboration is nearly non-existent.

With no proper workflows, there’s no way of measuring the data of who’s doing what. Automation moves away from the paper, eliminates the bottlenecks, and improves collaboration between teams.

Construction estimation techniques with ProEst

When you have issues with your estimations, takeoffs, and workflows, this doesn’t bode well for your company’s profits. With many manual ways of working, this means a good deal of errors to contend with.

ProEst is a cloud-based, digital takeoff and estimating software that offers a wide range of automated features across all of your estimation projects. It improves efficiency and eliminates costly errors.

Your company can perform quick and competitive estimates, rapid digital takeoffs, and enable people to collaborate to get things done. Because it’s internet-connected, everyone has the information they need 24/7.

ProEst lets you create a custom database to store all of your valuable estimate data. You can search by estimate code, description, estimator, or type of work. Missing data and drawings will be a thing of the past. The RSMeans database includes:

  • a pre-built general contractor database with over 15,000 items and assemblies.
  • a flexible database setup in CSI 48 division format.
  • unlimited sort types like Phase and WBS.

It also eliminates those time-consuming manual takeoff steps and gives you the ability to perform digital takeoffs directly from electronic blueprints. It also reduces takeoff time by 50%, so takeoffs can be completed in days or even hours.

ProEst also offers pending projects, updates estimate pipelines, and creates accurate short- and long-term business forecasts.

Digital workflows improve the way teams collaborate. Everyone knows which jobs are being done, who’s responsible, and the time work takes.

Use estimation techniques to drive revenue

As a commercial construction company owner, you need the tools to help your estimators improve the way they work every day. Gone are the days of manual work, being faced with tons of data, and not knowing who’s working on what area of the project. Automation simply makes working life easier.

Improving estimating, takeoff, and workflows needn’t be a hassle. Using digital estimation techniques successfully help commercial construction company owners realize better estimates and therefore increased revenue.

To learn more about how to use modern construction estimation techniques to increase your revenue, reach out to ProEst and schedule a free 1-on-1 demo today!